Big Ten

Former four-star quarterback Dwayne Lawson commits to Illini after year away from Virginia Tech


Former four-star quarterback Dwayne Lawson commits to Illini after year away from Virginia Tech

Staring down a decision between Chayce Crouch and Jeff George Jr. as Wes Lunt's successor next season, the Illini perhaps got a new frontrunner Monday.

Dwayne Lawson, a former four-star recruit who spent the 2015 season with Virginia Tech, tweeted that he will be joining Lovie Smith's Illinois program as a junior college transfer next season. He'll have two years of eligibility remaining.

Lawson is big and athletic, a dual-threat quarterback at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds much different in style from Lunt, who played his last game in an Illinois uniform two weekends ago in a season-ending loss to Northwestern.

Lawson spent the past season at Garden City Community College in Kansas after leaving the Virginia Tech program in August. He played sparingly as a freshman during the 2015 campaign, appearing in five games and rushing for 55 yards and a touchdown while throwing just nine passes and completing only three for 51 yards.

When Virginia Tech announced Lawson's departure in August, the Roanoke Times reported that he failed a drug test and could have been suspended.

But after a season in Kansas, he's returning to a Power Five conference program, with Illini Inquirer saying Lawson is expected to arrive in Champaign in July after completing his second semester at junior college.

It's certainly a shift in style for the Illini. Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee recruited another dual-threat quarterback, Cameron Thomas — a three-star recruit from Marian Catholic — earlier this year. Remember that McGee's previous stop before coming to Champaign with Smith was Louisville, where he coached current Heisman Trophy favorite Lamar Jackson, one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country.

While Lawson won't be joining the Illini until right before summer camp, he could be the frontrunner for the starting job. Crouch and George saw a good deal of time this season while Lunt battled injuries. Crouch impressed at times, particularly with his legs, rushing for 137 yards in a loss to Purdue. George struggled mightily seeing his first collegiate action, like when he thre four interceptions in a loss to Wisconsin. He did pass for 140 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Michigan State.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.